Chronic pelvic pain
- Chronic Pain
- Risk Factors
Chronic pelvic pain is debilitating pain in the pelvic region that lasts for longer than three months. This condition most commonly develops in women, though some men may also experience this pain.
Unlike acute pelvic pain, which occurs suddenly from injury and then heals within a few days or weeks, chronic pelvic pain often develops slowly and worsens over time, showing no signs of healing after several months.
There are several causes of chronic pelvic pain, ranging from gynecological problems in women to general musculoskeletal disorders. In order to find the most effective treatment for your pain, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor to determine the exact cause of your symptoms.
Causes of chronic pelvic pain
The reason long-term pelvic pain is more common in women than men is due to female anatomy. The uterus, the ovaries, the fallopian tubes and other female components are subject to a number of gynecological issues that can produce chronic pain in the pelvic area. One such condition is endometriosis, which occurs when the lining of the uterus grows on the outside, attaching to other structures within the pelvis. Also, blood trapped in an ovary can produce a painful condition known as endometrioma.
There also are several nongynecological causes of chronic pelvic pain that can affect both sexes, including:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Painful bladder syndrome (interstitial cystitis)
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Injuries to the pelvic joints, muscles and nerves
Degenerative conditions within the lumbosacral region of the spine, which is where the lower back and pelvis connect, can cause nerve compression in the lower back. This can lead to pain that radiates from the lower back to the pelvis, buttocks and legs.
Treatments for chronic pelvic pain
Treatment for chronic pelvic pain depends on the cause of the pain. For spine conditions, treatment methods can include the use of over-the-counter pain medication, physical therapy, hot/cold therapy and spinal injections.
If these treatments do not relieve your pain after several months, your doctor may recommend spine surgery to treat your condition. The minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery.^ Our surgeons use muscle-sparing techniques to access the spine with a less than 1-inch incision, unlike traditional open back surgery that requires a large incision and muscle disruption.
For chronic pelvic pain, our surgeons may recommend minimally invasive decompression or stabilization surgery. While both procedures focus on relieving pressure on the pinched nerve root in the lower back, stabilization surgery is used for the more severe conditions as an alternative to a traditional open spinal fusion procedure.